Riversimple Needs Beta Testers For Rasa Hydrogen Car

Riversimple Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car


Riversimple Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car

80-100 people will be offered 1-3 month test drives.

There are beta tests and there are beta tests. A new app might be cool and easy to get in on, but a quirky, limited hydrogen vehicle? That’s another issue entirely. In order to sign up for the beta test of the Riversimple Rasa, you will need to live in or near Monmouthshire in the UK, have a reason to regularly go to nearby Abergavenny (where the one and only hydrogen refueling station will be set up), and want to test the car for between one and three months. If you meet all of those qualifications, then sign on up at the Riversimple website before September 1st and get ready to ride on H2 at some point by the end of the year. Riversimple is looking for between 80 and 100 beta testers.

As we wrote a year ago, the Riversimple Rasa is an ultra-light, two-seat, hydrogen-powered car with a range of 300 miles few tank. There are four electric motors, one in each wheel, and an 8.5-kW hydrogen fuel cell to power them. That’s not a lot of power, which is why the Rasa has a top speed of 60 miles per hour and is not allowed on the highway. The test vehicles will be hand-built.

Riversimple has not plans to actually sell the Rasa, even when it goes into actual production. Instead, the company will offer the car like today’s cell phones, using a service contract. The company says:

 A customer will typically sign up for a contract of 1 – 3 years, and pay a monthly direct debit which comprises a fixed cost for the car + a charge relating to mileage. Riversimple pays for all the hydrogen, insurance and all maintenance, tyres, etc.

For the beta test, though, Riversimple wants to hear how people like driving the vehicle and what they think about the car’s advantages and shortcomings.

We are excited to learn how you use the Rasa, how different it feels from conventional cars, what you miss (if anything), what needs improvement. We also want to learn how to present our unique service and how best to support our customers.

Of course, Riversimple knows all about the debate between battery electric vehicles and hydrogen cars. This, though, is what the company calls the wrong question.

Press Release:

July 5, 2017

Green car maker Riversimple launches recruitment drive for 100 beta-testers

Welsh hydrogen car company Riversimple is recruiting 100 test drivers to take part in the first trial of its kind in the UK.

Starting at the end of 2017, the 12 month beta-trial of its hydrogen-powered FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle), Rasa, will launch around Abergavenny in Wales, complete with hydrogen refuelling point.

The ground-breaking trial will enable drivers to directly influence the final design of the car and the service, which will be offered on a subscription basis – similar to a mobile phone contract.

Testers will be able to drive the two-seater eco-car for 1-3 months, as part of a unique initiative with Monmouthshire County Council.

Riversimple director Fiona Spowers said, “We’re looking for fellow trailblazers to drive our beautifully engineered cars in everyday situations. Our beta-testers are crucial to our plan, and will be shaping the future of our business and maybe the future of motoring for everyone.

“Their input will feed into the Rasa’s final design. We have a safe, brilliantly engineered prototype that has completely wowed the likes of Chris Evans. Now, we are refining the design for everyday life. In the spirit of open source development, beta-test drivers will also advise us on creating a seamless, wonderful experience for future customers.

“We are interested in local people who have a clean driving licence and who tend to use their car for local journeys. The Rasa has a maximum speed of 60mph, so it is not designed for long distance motorway travel. It’s licensed to be on the road, but not finalised for production. ”

The test is partly funded by a €2m grant from the European Union and from a crowdfunding round earlier this year, which exceeded its £1m target. Another funding round is planned.

Riversimple is the world’s only independent hydrogen car company and is currently the only business of its kind to adopt a circular business model, reducing waste and recycling parts wherever possible.

It will offer the Rasa on a service contract – with customers paying a monthly direct debit, with a fixed cost and mileage charge. Riversimple will pay for hydrogen, insurance and all maintenance, including tyres, representing good value as the car ages.

Spowers said: “Driving is such an emotive, vital thing to many of us – our zero-emission cars offer the joy of driving, but with none of the hassle of ownership depreciation, dirty taxes and servicing extras. Our aim has always been to produce a car which is available to the many, not just the well-off and feedback from the trial will help to ensure we achieve this.”

The company is planning to install a hydrogen refuelling point in one of the main car parks in Abergavenny. Refuelling is simple, with a self–service pump and takes less than five minutes. Drivers attach a hose to the car, step back to the pump and press a button to fill the tank with 1.6kgs of hydrogen, lasting 300 miles. No money changes hands when you refill – the bill goes directly to Riversimple.

The company’s dedicated engineering team will offer an emergency breakdown service to all drivers taking part in the trial and insurance costs will be picked up by Riversimple.  For more details, email fiona@riversimple.com or call 01597 821060.

Recruitment of the beta-testers marks the start of the company’s ambitious plans to kick-start hydrogen infrastructure in the UK by developing a community of users around a single hydrogen refuelling station.

Over the next 20 years, Riversimple plans to build a distributed network of compact and efficient manufacturing plants that will regenerate communities and create jobs.

The Rasa is currently believed to be the greenest car designed for ordinary road use and emits just water. It is the culmination of 15 years of research and development by a team that includes ex-F1 and aerospace engineers and was launched in spring 2016 to huge acclaim. It is powered by a small hydrogen fuel cell, as well as energy recaptured from braking.

Source: Riversimple

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20 Comments on "Riversimple Needs Beta Testers For Rasa Hydrogen Car"

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Yikes! There will only be ONE hydrogen filling station?

There’s problem with hydrogen as an energy carrier for cars – in a nutshell.

If they made a BEV version, THEN I would be impressed.

There are around 15 hydrogen stations in the UK. Similar count is in permitting and planning stages.

There are plenty of compact battery only car choices (sort of) – please feel free to be impressed and buy them if their range is good enough for you and you have your own garage.
I suspect you didn’t even read “wrong question” answer, linked in the article, before running to bash the imaginary enemy.

I really like the Riversimple package – they clearly know what they are doing in car design. But, hydrogen is a nonstarter as an energy carrier for cars.

Put a bigger battery and an charger in it, and charge it at your house.

It sounds like you don’t understand real life parking situation in places like London, much of other European cities, or China.
Here is “your own” garage in Chelsea, just quarter million dollars and you can charge overnight:
Additional range restrictions and limited recharging speed do not expand share of people who can use such solution. If you just add more battery capacity, you get yet another 100 kWh environment trasher, not a lightweight light footprint long rage vehicle. “Wrong question” link in the article specifically discusses it. There is no one magic size that fits everybody.

This has failure written all over it in multiple ways. First of all, hydrogen might become a thing in the future because of renewable energy generation but that is a long time off. Second, not selling them but just leasing means a HUGE capital outlay until these vehicles are paid off. That is a severe scaling problem, they can’t expect to finance millions of these vehicles out of pocket. Apparently they are expecting to push this cost over to their suppliers by leasing the fuel cells from their suppliers, effectively pushing this credit risk over to them. What sane supplier would agree to such an arrangement? That is obviously not going to work. Third, a 2-seater is not a very attractive proposition. Sure for temporary renting for the day, for a robotaxi perhaps but few people are going to sign a long term contract for this thing. Add to the fact that the performance is poor. Fourth, using 4 motors is just a huge waste. For a high performance car like the Rimac 1 where cost doesn’t matter there are positive effects to be had when pushing the envelope but this is supposed to be a cheap mass-produced vehicle, it… Read more »

There are 4 motors specifically for more regen.

Why does the driver look so terrified?
So this is like a covered up motorcycle….I have seen this before.

And this has NOTHING to do with the car, but everything to do with:
“Over the next 20 years, Riversimple plans to build a distributed network of compact and efficient manufacturing plants”

Sound familiar? Nikola Motors isn’t about the truck, it is about the hydrogen distribution chain.

Tesla built its global supercharger network and is improving on it. Some people call the Tesla vehicles an iPad on wheels. I prefer to call it a battery on wheels.

There is a very large difference here: Tesla started making and selling the Model S before it installed the first Supercharger network. While Superchargers have made the Model S (and Model X) more attractive to potential buyers, and certainly has helped Tesla sell its cars, Tesla would likely still be in business without it. Contrariwise, any scheme which requires the company to install a regional network of very expensive support stations before it can attract its first subscription customer, is going to fail because the startup costs are too high to be paid for by the rather limited number of subscriptions they’ll be able to sell. It happened that way with (Project) Better Place, and if Riversimple pursues a similar business plan, it will happen to them too. In fact, since hydrogen fueling stations are several times as expensive as battery swapping stations, business failure for Riversimple will likely happen even faster. What I find so depressing about schemes like this is that it’s so fracking inevitable that any money invested in them is going to be wasted. I could see that Better Place’s business plan could not possibly succeed the first time I read about it. The only thing… Read more »

Blue-sky invention team burning through their VC money. Like most VC startups, this will eventually fail. Glad it’s not my money.

I’m sure they will have 100,000 people signing up to get one by the end of the first day they open up their wait list. 400,000 within weeks after that….


Am I the only one who thinks the lady in the picture has an expression and body language like she is trying to run away as fast as she can before anybody sees her? She’s got that wide-eyed “oh crap, too late they caught me” look on her face.

It can’t just be me.


“Riversimple has not [sic] plans to actually sell the Rasa, even when it goes into actual production. Instead, the company will offer the car like today’s cell phones, using a service contract.”

That’s the business model that (Project) Better Place tried. How did that work out, again? 🙄

Exchanging the expensive battery swap stations, such as Better Place used, with even more expensive hydrogen fueling stations, would only make the company go bankrupt even faster than Better Place did.

Are they sourcing clean hydrogen? That’s the expensive route money and energy-wise, but remains true to the ‘clean vehicle’ mantra.

If they’re using the cheaper, fracked SMR stuff, they could be accused of ‘riding dirty’.

Contractual hiring of your vehicle is not new, and the preference for many many buinesses (i.e. its called leasing and is very tax efficient) and increasingly for individuals too (i.e. PCH) that often can’t afford the capital to buy the car. The difference here is that includes the fuel cost (and presumably insurance too?).

It will of course all depend on the actual price per month – if its really like my mobile contract in price as well as principle (£10/mth for all-unlimited, same contract from my school days) I’m in (I doubt it is of course).

The single hydrogen refueling point is for the beta test only – hence why the testers are sought in/near Monmouthshire. Many more are the intention based “on demand”.

A 2-seater is eqaully agreeable as the majority of journeys are taken with 1-2 persons – especially local, short journeys for which the Rasa is aimed.

But for me, the 40’s-Citroen-like styling inc. ugly, concealed rear wheel is plain awful and unattractive.

Principle – interesting; potential – intriguing; desirability – low; implementation – jurys out.

I think it’s great, a great idea and what better way to get real life testing done. Wish I could drive one, it looks fun. It is the future and the future is here already 🙂

As a comparison they should have an equal number of battery ekectric models. They can plug into any common electric outlet. Then compare cost, use, charging cost and owner impressions.

One of the final flurries of wasted European money.